How Far Can Kerber Go At This Year’s Wimbledon?

Angelique Kerber (photo: Bad Homburg Open, Paul Zimmer, Daniel Maurer)

BAD HOMBURG/WASHINGTON, June 27, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

A smiling and elated Angelique Kerber had just come off the Centre Court from winning the WTA 250-series Bad Homburg Open in central Germany on Saturday, her first WTA title since her 2018 triumph at Wimbledon. During her remarkable week in her home country, the 33-year-old German looked like her old Grand Slam self. She beat 76th-ranked Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 6-2 for her 13th WTA singles title and second on grass.

As the three-time major champion readies to play at the Wimbledon Championships this week, it seemed only natural that she would be asked about Wimbledon memories of winning on grass when she sat down to do press following her Bad Homburg Open title victory. Kerber, who also served as a tournament ambassador, admitted she was motivated to find her best tennis, playing at home and with the start of Wimbledon just days away.

“A lot of things came together and I was trying to push myself, playing my best tennis, also when I’m looking now to Wimbledon, having the match feeling again. So, yes, it’s a great feeling to win another title, especially in Germany again,” she said.

Kerber, who is in the upper half of the draw and could potentially meet 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in the third round, will begin her quest for a second Wimbledon crown against Serbia’s Nina Stojanovic on Tuesday.

“I think that this week changes how I see Wimbledon because I always see Wimbledon like really the most important tournament in tennis because everyone knows Wimbledon, it’s a prestige tournament and it’s a tradition tournament,” Kerber said. “So, for me to have this week, that’s why I was really putting everything I could on court to have these matches, to have the feeling of winning the matches and now going with this feeling to Wimbledon.

“Of course, it starts from zero, everything It’s another Grand Slam, we have the first round and this is now the match that counts. Then, we see what’s going on at Wimbledon this year.”

Ostapenko wins Viking International title

Add grass to the surfaces that Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko has mastered among her four career WTA singles titles. Sure, she’ll forever be remembered for winning the 2017 French Open on clay, which helped grow her international profile, and she also won hard court titles at Seoul in 2017 and at Luxembourg in 2019.

Now, the World No. 34, who took a wild card into the Wimbledon tune-up event at Eastbourne, along the English southeast coast, won the WTA 500-series grass-court event with a calm and poised-yet-dominating 65-minute, 6-3, 6-3 victory over 25th-ranked Anett Kontaveit of Estonia.

“I’m really happy with the way I played the whole week,” said Ostapenko, filled with positive vibes for Wimbledon ahead, during her post-match press conference. “There were some close matches, but I was fighting until the last moment I played really well, and I think the semifinal and final I played really on a high level.”

En route to winning the Eastbourne title, Ostapenko beat No. 35 Daria Kasatkina, 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 in Thursday’s quarterfinals and No. 21 Elena Rybakina, 6-4, 6-1, in the semifinals. It put her in the right frame of mind.

“I think I was honestly very calm going into the match,” admitted Ostapenko, who hit 24 winners and outpointed Kontaveit 61-50. “I had no stress at all. I warmed up really well, and I was really ready. I was just expecting a really tough match, because I knew [Anett] is a great player and it’s going to be really hard to play against her.

“I was trying to play more aggressive and to go for the shots when I had chances. I think I serve really well today; I returned and changed the directions [which] also helped me a lot. And using drop shots and different kinds of shots, sometimes slices I did from the forehand.”

As Ostapenko readies for Wimbledon, where she will play 71st-ranked Leylah Fernandez of Canada in her first-round match on Tuesday, she thinks winning Eastbourne is just a beginning of good things to come. “If I keep playing the way I played this tournament, I think I can be back in the Top 10 and play well,” she said. “So, I just have to keep that in my mind and work even harder.”

Aoyama and Shibahara win fourth doubles title of season

The Viking International women’s doubles final was won by Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara. The No. 2 seeds, both from Japan, defeated No. 1 seeds Nicole Melichar of the United States and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands.

Aoyama and Shibahara began the 2021 season with three title runs, at Abu Dhabi, the Yarra Valley Classic in Melbourne and the Miami Open. After being shutout during the European clay season, the Japanese duo are lifting trophies again.

“Weve’ had some ups and downs this year, and we make sure that even in our downs, we keep telling each other that we can improve,” Shibahara said as quoted by the WTA website, “so that we can get to that next level. I think this week was really good for us.”

Aoyama and Shibahara are 4-0 in doubles finals this year and have won their last seven double finals going back to 2019.

Elina Svitolina: Showing off her Wimbledon whites

Leave it to World No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, who is a master of Tik-Tok, to use her social media platforms in order to show of her Nike Wimbledon attire.


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A post shared by Elina Svitolina (@elisvitolina)

Nick and Venus: A most unlikely mixed doubles pair

Nick Kyrgios makes his return to tennis at Wimbledon and he’s already garnering headlines for using social media to look for a mixed doubles partner. Any takers? Yes, Kyrgios will team with none other than Venus Williams, 41, a five-time Wimbledon singles champion and six-time Wimbledon doubles champion, who was a Wimbledon mixed doubles finalist with Bob Bryan in 2006.

What they’re sharing on social media

Alex de Minaur / Loving every second on the grass!